Mark Normand Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, December 2
Published Dec 03, 2015Although Mark Normand's hour was enjoyable, this show was underwhelming at times. Most of the openers were average, and Normand's delivery was forgettable.
The night began with Rell Battle, who comically complained about meeting a stripper who used her real name, and cheerily discussed his unique experiences as an identical twin. Overall, his delivery and material were both ordinary. However, his joke about Adele was more flimsy than it was enjoyably topical, and his calling out of the crowd's insincere applause was amusingly refreshing. Likewise, Jarrett Campbell's set was also standard. His jokes about the new dating app Bumble and the fact he had the moustache of a step-dad were funny, but otherwise most of his performance was unremarkable. Following Campbell, Rob Mailloux did some new, yet polished material about his father's weird way of asking what he should write in his will, as well as some dark, clever material about how being an anorexic man is completely different from being an anorexic woman. Also, Mailloux told an old but still entertaining joke about how he felt like people suspected that he was a bad husband because his wife got breast implants.
Headliner Mark Normand had a wealth of intelligently written material. He wittily pointed out the stupidity of people who are opposed to gay couples having kids, the absurdity of the fact you have to be 25 to rent a car, and how ironic it was that the homophobic men he met on tour were holding hands. Additionally, his joke about how asking women to do things that are typically women's work is sexist, but it isn't sexist to ask men to do tasks that are stereotypically men's work was as subversive as it was smart. Moreover, his comparison of hooking up with unattractive people to happily settling for a tuna sandwich while drunk was also very funny. Lastly, his bits about how no one has time to be politically correct in an emergency and how phoniness is actually a valuable, important quality were brilliant.
Having said that, Normand's tone was bland, he gazed blankly over the crowd, and his facial expressions were completely neutral. Consequently, his carefully crafted material got half the laughs it could have gotten. If Normand had a more distinctive, compelling style of delivery, this would have been a great show. Unfortunately, until Normand learns to perform with more enthusiasm or learns to focus his energy to be engagingly deadpan, the aimlessness of his stage presence will continue to hinder his talent.